A Tale of Two Men


Let’s visit my sister.

Her husband retired at the beginning of the year. His was an actual retirement at the age of sixty-five and after a lifetime of hard work.

It only took a few weeks before he was restless and driving her nuts. How often can you watch sports in a day? How many computer games can you play? How much house cleaning can you do?

He is employed again, driving a forklift for a trucking company. Order has been restored to my sister’s world.

Now come to my house.

I married a man with a definite feminine side to him. He cooks, he cleans, he sings the backup parts to pop songs by female singers. He shops. (So much shopping!)

He is “semi-retired” now at age fifty-six. I’m expecting he’ll go back to work before the end of the year, but he could actually stay home for almost two years.

Without taking a minute to relax and recover from a very stressful job, he began moving everything from his “man cave” (don’t you hate that term) in the basement and up into the den off the kitchen. The basement, kitchen, and den are now an explosion of junk stuff!

Every day something else comes into the house while something else goes out. Of all things, a clay chiminea showed up yesterday. I told my sister he’ll be burning down the house next (cue Talking Heads).

The addition of no less than EIGHT stereo speakers (with six more on the way) to the den has been … uh … interesting. I love a concert experience, and I haven’t really minded having an ongoing one in the house, but I’m a little concerned with all the shaking going on. Literally. The windows rattle, the siding shakes, objects on my desk move around.


Noise dampening foam adhered to walls. Flat screen television on wall behind speakers on right (movable). Orange carpet will soon be replaced with hardwood flooring.

Our house is 114 years old. There are abandoned salt mines in this area. I can see our burned out house (from the chiminea on the wood deck) collapsing into a sinkhole one day. I’ve asked Rich to check the “dirt side” of the basement where the furnace and water heater live. I know there’s a brick wall over there that’s giving up the will to live, and I’m concerned the stereo will do it in. Fingers crossed it’s not a support wall.

And let’s not forget the garage. There’s a project or two started out there as well. I can’t imagine Rich will be “retired” long enough to complete all his projects. There’s certainly no boredom or restlessness for him.

Is he driving me nuts? Not really. I did like having the house to myself during the day, but mostly because I could play Don’t Starve for hours at a time, and no one would know. (Ha!) So, I guess having him around has helped to get me back on track with writing every day. But if he brings home one more kitchen gadget (recent purchases include a griddle, immersion blender, electric skillet, food processor, and a set of non-stick frying pans), I’m going to whap him upside the head with whatever it is!


How about you? Do you have a retired or semi-retired person in the house? How did/do you deal with the situation?

Disclaimer: Rich has read and approved this blog post. There was chuckling and shaking of his head, but he couldn’t deny any of it.

24 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Men

  1. Photography, reading, music, blogging, writing, eating (lots), coffee drinking (lots), tea drinking, watching a bit of Amazon or Netflix before bed, going on drives, exercising, cleaning, washing dishes, battling critters daring to invade our space, and avoiding people . . . that’s my retired life.

    Can’t understand people wanting to go back to work.

    Melisa is the one who talks about going back to work (I’ve successfully dissuaded her a number of times) and is often bored with retired life. I tell her to get a hobby, and in her defense, she has a couple that are difficult to do in our current living conditions.

    We’ve pretty much been attached at the hip since before we got married (including working in the same office for fifteen years) so each other’s constant companionship is more of a perk than a burden.

    I guess I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout dealing with no ‘situation’. This seems like pretty good living to us.

  2. Well, you know I live with a ‘retired’ person. I do wish he would get a hobby, I guess his hobby is watching the TV. I miss my quiet time but understand his need for noise. As long as he keeps it relatively down on the TV, I don’t mind. I’m afraid Rich would drive me out of the house. LOL I get out of sorts if there is too much loud noise. It affects me a lot. Always has. Makes me crazy(ier). ha! He is talking about taking up fishing with his brother this summer, so we shall see. 😉

    • Rich and I are polar opposites. We’ve always said that our marriage has worked because we bought a large house with enough room to get away from one another. 🙂

      Growing up in a noisy household has helped me deal with noise as an adult. I prefer noise to quiet – even when I write.

      Great news that your hubs is hoping to go fishing this summer!

  3. Why did Rich shift out of the man cave, Maddie? Down in the basement and out of the way of those speakers sounds ideal. My theory is, that it’s called man cave because the rest of the house has been furnished and decorated by the woman to reflect her taste. 😏

    • Hi Mary! The man cave was dark and too small for all his tools *and* stereo equipment. I think for his mental health, he also wanted to be upstairs with family and not so isolated. I must say, it is rather nice to be able to wander over into the den to watch a movie with him and bypass going up and down the stairs.

      Hope you are well! I talked with granddaughter tonight, and she is definitely coming this summer even if for only two weeks. When I asked her what she’d like to do, she said she wanted to go fishing! That’s right up Grandpa’s alley. 🙂

      • If only for two weeks, you say. It’s the next phase, isn’t it? They have a life (one has a boyfriend, oh my) and we’re lucky they still want to see us.

  4. I feel for you. I don’t have a husband and am not at retirement age yet, but my grown son and DIL moved in with me for a while and it was driving me crazy. I missed having my house to myself and having things in order. They just moved into their own house and I finally feel like I can breathe!

    • The clutter while he moves things around is most difficult. I can actually write easier with a clean house and everything in its place. Unfortunately, it will be a while before we reach that stage.

      Our adult son has been back with us for a while. With Rich blaring classic rock from the den, and our son blaring hip hop on the other side of me in the front of the house, we’re a perfectly normal, somewhat dysfunctional, family.

      Glad you have your space again!

  5. I have no idea what I am going to do when my husband retires. I dread the day. He has lots of hobbies so I know he will stay busy, but, it will be in my space all day. Even now when I am on my computer he always asks, “Whatcha working on?” Drives me nuts! I guess I should just be grateful that he has an interest in what I am doing, but . . .

    • Make a new, nicer space for yourself with a better view. I asked Rich to build an office outside for me so I can write out there no matter the weather. That would give me privacy, and I’d be away from all the hoopla in the house. He’s not home right now … he went SHOPPING!

    • Ahh, but therein lies the rub. I *like* to cook and am the better cook. However, he does make a mean breakfast, and as I hate breakfast foods, I’m glad he cooks for himself and our son.

      I’ve also never canned anything in my life, and he’s a wonder with cold packing fresh vegetables, condiments, and jams. So yes, there’s plenty of room to overlook things. 🙂

  6. I probably shouldn’t say anything (I’m outnumbered) but we have a few friends who also “dread” the time when their husbands retire. One is planning on building a separate shop for him, but that only works if the husband has a hobby requiring such space.

    . . . my suggestion was to get him a girlfriend . . . that will him out of the house so they could have their “me” time.

    As suggestions go, it wasn’t much appreciated . . .

    • Ha! Great suggestion. I’m always telling Rich the neighbor women on both sides of us have a lot to offer. 🙂

      I’m looking forward to having more time with him on the motorcycle this year. We used to have to ride when he came home from work. Now we can plan day trips. He gave me an Olympus Camedia C-750 (old camera from work), so I’ll have that to take along and try my hand at more photos. That might provide some interesting blog fodder.

  7. So funny. I love the kitchen gadgets! lol I would think the man cave would be better in the basement but glad it is working out for you. 🙂 There should be several stories there to write about. lol That is a lot of speakers! My hubby is closer to retirement age than me, but I am the one at home right now. He is gone during the week so I get plenty of quiet time. Though I admit when he was able to be home a few nights last week during the week, it did mess up my routine a bit. lol His cave is next to mine but no problems there. 🙂 Yet. One advantage, we have another house four hours away if one of us wants to escape. LOL. Only it is in a remodel mess currently. 🙂 Happy writing. Enjoying the blog posts! 🙂

    • He looked at the picture of the kitchen items, laughed, and said, “And those are the ones I bought!” 🙂 They are. I cobbled them together into one picture.

      I remember your house under remodel. That’s a long way to drive for an escape, but I’d consider it. I’ve actually thought of going to a hotel for a week so I can knock out this next book. I’m still pondering that idea.

  8. You made me laugh here. OMG do I understand. My last husband had to retire at 59 and was unable to drive anywhere for a number of years. I spent more time in hardware stores than in grocery stores. Finally he adjusted to letting me wait in the car so I could read and he asked the salespeople tons of questions instead of me. I get all the kitchen gadgets. I left him all of them. I live in 1500 sq. ft alone. 2800 wasn’t big enough for the 2 of us. They say a retired husband is a wife’s full time job. I’m glad it’s still working out for you. I turned in my resignation. Now he’s driving his kids crazy. 🙂

  9. MADDIE, this post was awesome! I don’t have a semi retired hubby ( at this rate of government reform into pensions we will be 80 before even thinking of retiring!) I share the frustration of objects suddenly appearing in, or disappearing from the house! Some are mine, and are relocated without my consent!!!
    Anyway, hope your worrying is going well. I’ve finished a novel that I think could work for both YA and anybody upwards from YAdulthood. How would you pitch it to readers?!? Speak soon, OGaBs

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